MOGADISHU, Somalia – A plane registered in Kenya crashed at Aden Adde International Airport on Saturday morning, Somali authorities said, adding that the plane had taken off before crashing inside the airport zone, in an incident that added rising aviation accidents in Somalia.
Reports show that two of the four crew members were seriously injured, but they have since been stabilized at a Mogadishu hospital. The plane is owned by Silverstone Airlines, an aviation advertising company operating in East Africa, an eyewitness said.
The plane took off from Aden Adde International Airport early in the morning and was reportedly on its way to Beledweyne, central Somalia, but the pilot was forced to return to the airport before the plane crashed, officials added.
Insiders say the plane could have developed a mechanical problem, forcing the flight crew to make a turn in the sky. Pictures from the scene show the plane on the ground just inside the airport area, and excavators had been deployed to clear the site.
The plane turned off and crashed into a concrete barrier during the landing attempt as it was about to land, the reports stated. A fence within the perimeter of the airport was severely separated. Photos showed that only the front of the plane was badly smashed.
Somalia’s civil aviation authority is investigating the crash, officials said. The crash is the fourth involving Kenyan airlines in accidents in Somalia this year, further raising serious questions about the safety of Somalia’s skies, but this particular incident was triggered by mechanical challenges.
Two of the previous incidents involving Kenyan aircraft were triggered by external forces. For example, on May 4, a Kenyan plane was brought down by Ethiopian national defense forces [ENDF] in Bardale, which caused a rift between Kenya and Ethiopia, but the Addis Ababa authorities have since apologized
In a statement, the ENDF claimed that the plane was mistaken for promoting Al-Shabaab militants who were eager to blow up an army base despite reports that they were familiar with the details of the flight. And within the Bay region, another plane was attacked by militants from Al-Shabaab.
Silverstone airlines have also been dealing with security challenges in the Kenyan space since Kenya Aviation canceled its license last year due to non-compliance. Two of its planes were involved in accidents at Wilson Airport and Eldoret, respectively, causing national uprising.
Earlier this year, Somali authorities also revoked the license to Silverstone Airlines after it was revealed that it was ferrying Khat to the country despite government restrictions. The recent incident could further lead to proper surveillance of aircraft operated by the aviation giant.